451 West Sheridan Street Ely, Minnesota 55731
Fishing Report
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Walleyes are still responding well to slow trolled spinner rigs loaded with a crawler. most of these fish have been taken from waters fifteen to eighteen feet deep. Trolling crankbaits has been working well in the same depth range. Larger cranks are taking some really nice walleyes near sunset and into the night on areas that lead to shallow flats where they're feeding after dark. This can also be a great time to hang a minnow under a lighted bobber. To be safe, make sure your running lights are in order, and it also helps to have good lighting in the boat. A headlamp is a valuable tool after dark.

Northern pike have been active in the early morning. This can be a great time to fish top water plastics. These lures create a lot of disturbance at first light, when the lakes are flat and still. The same lures that you'd use for bass fishing work well on pike. buzz baits, spinner baits work as well as top water plugs such as Jitterbugs, Hula Poppers, and Torpedos. The action can be explosive, with both largemouth and smallmouth bass attacking these same baits. They create quite a ruckus on still waters as they smash a surface offering and the bass don't seem to mind the steel  leaders that are necessary for targeting pike.

Trout action has seen an upswing too lately. Lake trout fishing on Burntside has been producing some decent fish in the five to six pound range. Set your lures, whether they be cranks or spoons from thirty to forty five feet down. This has been where the thermocline has been hovering, and bait fish tend to congregate there. Raindow trout have been active on most local trout lakes. Fly fishermen have been working dry flies early in the day, then working nymphs or minnow imitations like the Clouser during mid-day. This can also be a great time to get kids interested in trout. These fish respond well to the simple method of just fishing worms under a bobber, which can be a kick for kids. (and adults too).


Some nice walleyes are still being caught on area lakes. Many anglers have switched their choice of live bait to crawlers these days as the availability of leeches has come to a virtual halt. Crawler harnesses have been the lure to use and the success rate has been very good. Crawlers are much easier to keep as the temperatures continue to hover around the eighty degree mark. Keeping a couple dozen crawlers in a cooler has been much easier for folks and those going into the back country have found that just keeping a wet towel over their bait can maintain the cooling by evaporation.

Trolling larger profile crank baits are becoming very popular as well at this time of year. Trying various color combinations until you achieve the desired action. A good rule is to use neutral colors like silver, gold, or natural bait in clear water lakes, and brighter colors such as orange or fire tiger patterns in stained water.

Crappie action has finally taken hold as these fish are beginning to bunch up once again. The easiest way to locate the schools is to troll tiny crank baits or lures such as Beetle Spins where you mark suspended fish. Quite often, you'll find them suspended around the eight to fifteen foot mark over water that can be up to thirty feet deep. On shallower lakes, look for the fish on the edge of weed beds either early or late in the day.

Smallmouth bass action has been the most consistent of all local species. Top water baits rule here, as the action will continue throughout the day. This can be a very exciting way to fish as these aerial acrobats will readily explode at the surface and summersault their way to the boat or shoreline if fishing from land. Some bragging size largemouth bass have been taken using the same tactics. When there is a heavy chop on the water, make your presentations a bit deeper, using sub-surface crank baits or spinner baits.

Northern pike are still gobbling up sucker minnows, whether fished live under a bobber or dead baits laid right on the bottom in three to ten feet. Larger profile cranks, such as Rapala F-18s have been accounting for some huge pike as are spinner baits or spoons, fished either around weed beds or rocky island points. Color patterns don't appear to be a concern as these fish will grab most anything presented to them when they're in the mood.

Some impressive size walleyes are coming to the scales lately in the Ely area. Many anglers are finding that by reverting back to old tried and true methods are accounting for the biggest fish of the season. Now that the leeches are becoming harder to find, folks are going back to pulling crawler harnesses in deeper waters of the lakes and finding that's the most productive means with which to catch big "eyes". Try working the deeper holes and troughs in the lakes, where the water is much cooler than the surface areas.

Pike are still hitting spinners and spoons, and many are letting these settle a bit deeper down to fifteen feet or so before they begin their retrieve. Some are fishing suckers, whether live or dead near the bottom down in the same depth range.

Panfishermen are beginning to score some inpressive catches of crappies and sunnies in weed pockets, or along weed edges. Crappies are taking minnows dipped into the weeds at six to twelve feet. Another bait worth mentioning are the soft plastics. When fishing in the weeds, they tend to stay on the hook better than live bait that always seem to get pulled off when dragging through the cover, and save you time from rebaiting to keep your offering in the strike zone. Some folks are also "sweetening" their plastics with a wax worm to add some flavor to their baits.

Afew nice lake trout are beginning to show up again as anglers are trolling just below the thermocline which seems to be hovering around thirty-five feet on lakes such as Burntside and Snowbank. Spoons and spinners are most productive, and a few more succesful fishermen are leading these off with either Cowbells or brightly colored dodgers. This added attractant seems to draw fish in from a greater distance.


The angler success rate has slowed a bit in the Ely area, perhaps due to the high temperatures of both the air and the water. Those seeking walleyes should now concentrate their efforts on deep water structure in the fifteen to twenty-five foot range. Walleyes in particular have been holding at these depths, and anglers dragging spinner rigs with a crawler have been scoring some decent catches.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been better than average, as folks turn their attention to these hard fighting fish. Whether you're using spinner baits or top water lures, these critters never fail to co-operate. Many fishing trips have been saved by these voracious feeders on these clear water lakes. Young anglers too have been getting into the game as a simple rig of a crawler suspended under a bobber will be as effective when fished from a dock or along the shoreline.

As the walleye action slows, some folks have been turning their attention to northern pike. Artificial lures such as spinner baits and spoons, probably account for more pike than any other baits. It appears that the faster that you work these lures, the more aggressive the fish become, probably due to the fish responding to a bait that's trying to escape. Suckers under a bobber or just layed on the bottom can be very effective as well. There are times when a dead sucker on the bottom will produce much larger fish as the big ones don't have to work as hard chasing bait to get a meal.

Some lake trout have been coming in for anglers working water from forty ot sixty feet down in the water column. In this area spoons with a white or white green pattern have been working well. Other anglers find that just drifting along and vertical jigging has paid off.

Smallmouth bass fishing afficianados are having a heyday in the Ely area of late. Some impressive catches of these aerial acrobats are readily striking spinner baits, crank baits, and best of all for the show, top water baits. It's always an adrenaline rush when one of these very aggressive fish hits a surface bait and expodes into the air. Most of the lakes up here in the North Country have an ample supply of these fish, and they have saved the day for many anglers who have had limited success in their pusuit of walleyes.

Speaking of walleyes, there have been some decent catches of them in recent days, and some of them have been bragging size specimens. Burntside Lake has been producing some recently in the 27 to 30" range and that has put a big smile on the face of anglers there. Other lakes in the area have been producing walleyes in the fourteen to eighteen in range, which most anglers target as the best for the dinner table. Basswood Lake has been producing fine stringers of fish, but getting a permit to fish there is akin to winning the state's lottery.

Some lake trout are still co-operating on Burntside Lake as anglers drag either flutter spoons or large profile crank baits 30 - 45' down over water depths of fifty to ninety feet. Most action has been occuring around sunken islands or sharp island points that drop off into deeper water. Bait color hasn't been an issue as fishermen are offering a variety off colors without determining anypreference by the fish.

Big pike are still slamming sucker minnows, but the biggest of the species seem to be coming from water in the ten to twenty foot range as opposed to the shallows. Spinner baits and spoons still have been catching the majority of fish as one can cover much more water than using live bait.